The New York Foundling Hospital
One of the First in the United States
On October 11, 1869, with the blessing of their religious leader and a gift of $5.00, two Sisters of Charity, Sr. Mary Irene Fitzgibbon and Sr. Teresa Vincent McCrystal, opened one of the first foundling asylums in the United States on East 12th Street. The Foundling was the Sisters' answer to the thousands of orphaned and abandoned infants left on the streets of New York City.
The courage of the enterprise caught the conscience of civil leaders and responsible citizenry and the Foundling soon became a beacon of hope to unwed mothers with infants and to pregnant homeless girls. Despite untold struggles, the work flourished. Thousands of mothers and children found support. Thousands of other abandoned children found life through their early care, through their adoptions and placements across the United States, contributing vitality and growth to the nation.
As the Foundling celebrates its 125th anniversary in its fifth home, misery abides with only a change of face. Encouraged by a vibrant tradition, the Foundling continues to respond to the needs of families and communities who content with the violence, disease, drugs and homelessness of this era. In 1994, Sister Irene's vision and courage extend annually to 10,000 children, youth and adults who are served by 44 different health, education and social service programs.
In Commemoration of the 125th Anniversary
October 11, 1994